Updated 6/15/17 from an article originally published 7/17/14 .
Studio apartments come in all shapes and sizes, but what they all have in common is a combined living/sleeping area. In a studio apartment, the bedroom and living room are one and the same. Depending on the size of the apartment, dealing with that singular space can involve the fun of trying out different arrangements until you find the right one or the frustration of realizing your bed might not even fit.
Depending on the size of the apartment, dealing with that singular space can involve the fun of trying out different arrangements until you find the right one or the frustration of realizing your bed might not even fit.
One Room Living: The Studio Apartment Challenge
As a recent college graduate, I’m in the process of looking for a studio and have found that most of the apartments in my budget fall somewhere between 300 and 400 square feet in size. I’ve run into many different floor plans, most of them variations of three general layouts—a living area with a bathroom, kitchen and closet off of it on one side; a living area with a kitchen and small dining room on one side and a closet and bathroom on the other; or a living area with a kitchenette on one of its walls. Here’s a simple visual of these three floor plans:
When it comes to fitting your entire life into one very small rectangular space, challenges are unavoidable. But it’s totally possible to jump those hurdles and create a combined living space with everything you need and without the clutter you don’t want at all. Here are some ideas for making the most of your one room studio apartment.
Studio Apartment Challenge #1: Dividing out a Bedroom
The best way to solve the problem of a studio’s lack of bedroom is to create your own—or at least the illusion of one. Use a curtain, shelving unit, or traditional room divider to separate your bed from the rest of the room, creating a private “bedroom” where you can sleep in peace.
Read Also: 53 Ways to Eliminate Clutter and Chaos
Studio Apartment Challenge #2: Multipurpose Living Rooms
You want to create a space where you can hang out with friends, watch TV, and work on your laptop. Though trying to fit all that into a few square feet sounds impossible, it’s really not.
Think multipurpose. Instead of buying a desk, a TV stand and a bookshelf, install wall shelving (or freestanding, if your landlord doesn’t want any damage to the walls) that you can use for all three. Instead of buying a huge, bulky couch, get a couple smaller armchairs.
Studio Apartment Challenge #3: Lack of Closet Space
Though many of the apartments I’ve looked at do seem to include closet space, some of those closets are a little too small to contain a whole wardrobe. The best way to remedy that tiny closet is to, once again, create your own. Hide a standing clothes rack behind a curtain to give your clothes a home without begging your landlord for a walk-in. Or, let your clothes serve as décor by hanging them creatively out in the open. Use ceiling mounted clothes racks or get creative with DIY clothes racks for a really unique look. Here’s one made with a tree branch and string:
Studio Apartment Challenge #4: Living with a Tiny Kitchen
In a studio apartment, your kitchen is probably going to be one of two things: a strip of cabinets against one wall of the living room, or a room so small there’s hardly enough space to open the refrigerator door all the way. And you’re not going to be able to make any big changes if you’re renting. But there are ways to cook comfortably in that tiny kitchen.
Only buy essential kitchen utensils. Remember that you don’t really need a tofu press, and twelve different knives aren’t necessary. Don’t let your cabinets fill up with boxes of pasta and cans of vegetables that you’re never going to use. Only buy food you’ll eat within a few weeks. Whatever you do, do not let kitchen messes build up. Wash the dishes as you use them, throw out expired food right away and wipe down all your surfaces after cooking.
Add some character to your kitchen by pasting removable wallpaper onto cabinets or covering it (if it’s open to the living room) with a decorative curtain or tapestry when you’re not using it.
For young people living on their own for the first time, studio apartments are often a must because of their affordability. But there’s definitely something terrifying about cramming everything into 300 square feet. As long as you remember to be creative and organized as you set out to solve the problems that come with studio living, you can make your one-room apartment feel like home.